It all started with a fig tree #VineAndWine

I’ve been so busy writing my little fingers off, I haven’t blogged about normal life in awhile, so I thought… Why not let you in on my amusing new preoccupation. What is it? Turning fig into wine and quince into mead.

Now anyone know knows me knows I’m not a big drinker. I enjoy a good cocktail occasionally and I do love homemade limoncello, but overall the only things I drink are H2O and cranberry juice.

However, this season we found out we have two fruit trees on the south side of the house. Even without us doing anything to or with them, they have blundered along and this year have been quite productive. Until this year, I had never seen a fig and never heard of a quince. But being the inquisitive person I am, Iresearched them. When the figs started ripening, I plucked them and dried some and froze the others whole, wanting to keep the fruit until I figured out what to do with it. (for my facebook friends, it’s the nasty fig leaves that burned my finger. They were obviously fighting back *grins*) The quinces are just now ripe enough to do something with – but that’s a story for another day.

Anyway, I looked up fig recipes and came across a fig wine blog… and then another blog and then I went to Youtube and well…I’m hooked. While other people watch soap operas and the political debacle, I’m addicted to homebrewing youtube videos. And from what I can figure, all it takes is paying attention, lots and lots of sterilizing everything within an inch of their lives, and the willingness to wait a year for a decent fruit wine.

So…with the freezer stuffed with figs in both whole and dried forms, I decided I had enough know-how, had interfaced (online) with several of the YouTubers who are fanatical about making a good home brew, that I could stumble forward with making my own wine and mead.

First step – get the equipment.

There’s a lot of stuff to get.

  • 2 gallon primary fermentation bucket with a lid that has a drilled hole for the airlock
  • *and yeah, don’t forget the airlock*
  • 1 gallon carboy – probably at least two because the wine will be racked at least twice before bottling, probably more.
  • The wine yeast *because no using bread yeastie beasties for wine as they leave an odd taste behind*
  • Racking tube & auto siphon as I don’t want to combine my spit with the wine – bad ickyness factor
  • All the little ‘helpers’ to make the wine go right: pectic enzyme, acid blend, grape tannin, yeast nutrient, stabilizer
  • Hydrometer w/ bottle to test alcohol possibilities
  • Mesh bag for the fruit
  • bung for the carboys
  • Sanitization – which I was going to go with bleach/water and rinse, but the YouTube gurus have convinced me to go for a more professional sanitization technique

And that’s just the tools for the creation aspect. Then I’ll need bottles, corks, and a corking device, not to mention whatever I’ll use to wrap the top of the  bottle with once’s it’s ready.

Anyone else exhausted yet?

I found a beginners’ kit online, but it was missing some pretty important pieces so I decided to hit my local brewery shop to see what they had.

Did you hear the screech?

I was supposed to go today, but did other things instead. Why?

Because apparently I’m scared to go down to my local brew supply store. I feel like a weenie. Why the hell am I scared to go to a brew supply store? Part of it might be the fact their website focuses on the beer side of brewing and they focus on hops because, well, that’s a HUGE crop where I live (seriously, don’t ever be here when a hops warehouse catches on fire. The whole town smells like someone threw up.) But I think the main thing is I’ve got this picture in my head of beer brewing men – mostly from the brewers I’ve seen online and while some are nice, there are a lot of real jerks out there too. And as I know some of the jargon but am a newbie at this whole thing, I’m worried at being laughed at.

Like I said – I totally feel like a weenie. I’m a powerful woman and yet… I’m letting a few online jerks keep me from checking out my local brew supply.

And let me add that this is an irrational fear. I know it’s an irrational fear. The wine & mead  brewers have been over the top helpful. It was only 2 beer brewers that had some rather rude things to say.

Hopefully tomorrow I will pull up my big girl panties and go down there and see if they have any wine making supplies. Because the figs are calling. Okay, they’re filling up the freezer and I need to get something made from them. And I really, really, really want to see how this wine thing making works.

Wish me luck. I’m going in…

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